Train to Ella, Sri Lanka

Our latest Sri Lanka travel blog is about our longer than expected journey to Ella from Nuwara Eliya. We started the morning with a good breakfast in the King Fern Cottage guest house and ended the day on the train station platform in Ella. In between we went on a beautiful train ride in the hill country of Sri Lanka and enjoyed the spectacular views of the terraced tea fields. The ride was long, but beautiful and when we reviewed the pictures and video, we were filled with the nostalgic desire to return. Queenie mentioned we should go back to Sri Lanka and spend more time in the Hill Country. Not a bad idea!

Queenie on her way.
Queenie on her way

The Station at Nonu Oya

Our last post left off with us not having the best of nights in our guest house. We didn't get a lot of rest. In the morning we got out of bed and notified the front desk that we had yet to check out and would need transport to the train station to get to Ella. The receptionist was helpful and arranged for a tuk tuk and also sorted out our breakfast for us. Once we were packed and full, the tuk tuk arrived and we jumped on board for a 45 minute journey from the guest house to the station in the small village of Nonu Oya. The station (as you can see below) is built in the middle of a picture perfect countryside.

Nanu Oya -Station
Nonu Oya Station (by Queenie)

We bought the tickets, found our train and duly boarded. Our train did not have an Engine yet so we had no choice but to hangout on the station waiting for the engine to come along. We waited on the train and ambled around the plaftorm for a bit taking pictures (and made some last bathroom calls) until the engine arrived and was safetly coupled onto the carriages. And then we were off (surprisingly on schedule at 9:30am).

Waiting to Leave
Waiting to Leave (by Queenie)

Friendly boy on the Train
Friendly Locals

Video of our Train Journey

The train journey starts in a small village of Nanu Oya and as you can see, has many beautiful views of the hill country.

Beautiful Views and Scenery

As soon as we left the station we went straight into the tea fields. It was beautiful. Most of the trip we spent gazing out of the window looking at the green tea plantations and the beautiful views of the valleys and mountains. The views were specatacular. The train itself was definitely not express and was more like a regular local train. Nevertheless we ambled along the tracks for the next few hours until we arrived in Ella in the mid-afternoon. When travelling through these mountains amongst the tea plantations, one gets the feeling that in many ways, this part has a lot in common with the tea growing parts of Taiwan (except that Taiwan doesn't have second generation tea pickers working the land). Some of the tea plantations we passed through I believe were originally owned by Thomas Lipton, the founder of Lipton tea.

As soon as we left the station in Nanu Oya we were treated with wonderful views of tea plantations like the one shown below.

On the Train to Ella from Nanu Oya
Tea Plantation near Nanu Oya

It seemed no matter how far from Nonu Oya we went on the train, we were always among the beautiful green tea fields of Sri Lanka's hill country.

On the Train to Ella from Nanu Oya
More views of the plantations

Most of the grunt work on the plantations, that is the tea pickers, are Tamil's brought over specifically to work on the plantations as they work very cheaply compared to the Sri Lankan people. Some of these Tamil plantation workers, we were told, we second or even third generation workers.

On the Train to Ella from Nanu Oya
Tamil Tea Pickers in the Distance

The tracks were cut into the hill sides and the train often found its way drifting through tunnels to get avoid climbing higher mountain passes

On the Train to Ella from Nanu Oya
Mountain Side with Tea

Of course, since the train was cut into the side of the mountain, we also had some wonderful views of the deep valleys in the Hill Country.

On the Train to Ella from Nanu Oya
Valley's in the Hill Country

Railway Strike

The Train Rolls on to Ella
Train Rolls On

After we arrived in Ella we discovered how fortunate we to be able to get the train because that same afternoon, all the railway workers in Sri Lanka went on strike. The issue was resolved fairly quickly apparently but all the trains running on the line we took were stopped for the afternoon. We found out later from an Australian couple we met on the train (and later bumped into in the South of Sri Lanka) that they had planned to go to Ella for a day trip from Nuwara Eliya. Of course their first problem was the length of the train ride but their second problem was that in the afternoon there were no trains running so to get back they had to get  a very expensive and long tuk tuk ride to Nuawara Eliya from Ella.

The Mysterious Places, and a bathroom break

Train Station at Bandarawela

During the train ride we passed through many beautiful villages with and exotic and delightful sounding names Bandarawela, Idalgashinna and Haputale.  We wished we could have the time to stroll around these towns and stroll around the plantations for a day or two but unfortunately the train just rolled on. The towns were small and there didn't seem to be a lot to do in these places except chill out and relax (unless of course you are a farmer or tea picker). But still, the towns looked like wonderful places to visit to get away from things and the pace of life.

We did stop at a few of these stations along the way. At one of them most of the people traveling to Ella were in dire need of a bathroom break. So many of them jumped off the train and made a mad dash for the bathroom. What amused us was that the train engineer actually counted how many people made a dash for the bathroom and waited until they were all back on board the train before heading on his way: a typical laid back way of life in the hill country of Sri Lanka.

School in Idalgashinna, Sri Lanka
The School at Idalgashinna

Arriving in Ella

After more than a few hours (closer to five as I recall) we finally started to see Ella come into view. Of course at the time we didn't know but neither were we particularly anxious to arrive. But finally the train trip did end. It was good to arrive and be able to get off the train and stretch our legs. We were thankful to have had the opportunity to take this train ride. Of course, we could have caught the train to Ella directly from Kandy and skipped out Nuwara Eliya but even though we didn't enjoy Little England as much as we thought we would, it was worth the effort and the extra day. We spent a day in Ella but, due to my illness, would be forced to leave for lower altitudes and warmer weather.

More from Sri Lanka

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment and tell us what you think.


"Trafalgar Square" (1) 798 District (1) Africa (1) Airport (1) Archive (1) Art (1) Asia Art Center (1) Aviary (1) bagpipes (1) Ban Nam Dee (1) Beihai Park (1) Beijing (5) Birds (1) Bitan (1) Boracay (2) Bozburun (1) Buddhism (1) Buddhist Temple (1) Bunny Chow (1) Cafe India (1) canopy tour (1) cat (1) China (15) Christmas (2) Colombo (3) COPE (1) curry (1) Cycling (28) Cycling in Taiwan (8) dance (3) Dog (1) Durban (3) East Rift Valley (1) Eco Lodge (1) Elephant (3) Elephant Ride (1) Ella (1) Family (6) Fire (1) Flower Market (3) Food (2) France (1) Friends (19) Fulong (1) Galle (2) Galle Face Hotel (1) Gokova (1) Guandu Nature Park (1) hiking (2) Hong Kong (5) Hot Springs (1) Hsin Tien (1) Hualien (1) Hutong (1) Ilan (2) Japan (3) Jing Shan Beach (1) Kandayan Dancers (1) Kandy (5) Kandy Lake (1) Kaohsiung (2) Karkloof (1) Kayak (1) Keelung (4) Khiva (1) kitten (1) Koh Samui (1) Laos (9) Laos COPE (1) Laos Puppies (1) Laos Travelogue (3) Leofoo Village Theme Park (2) Library (1) Lion Dance (1) Little England (1) London (13) Luang Prabang (3) Marmaris (3) Matara (3) Mimi (2) Miscellaneous (32) Monkeys (1) Moses Mabhida Stadium (1) Namtha (1) Namtha. Huay Xuay (1) New Zealand (11) Nuawara Eliya (1) Nuwara Eliya (2) Osaka (3) Our Stuff (11) Pettah Market (1) Philippines (2) Photowalk (1) Pinglin (2) Pinnawala (1) Pot Pie Cafe (1) Pudding (1) Puppies (1) Puppy (1) Restaurants (11) Shek O (2) Shihmen Reservoir (1) Singapore (1) Snake Charmer (1) Snow (1) South Africa (12) Sri Lanka (17) street performers (1) Sung River (1) Sunset (3) Ta An Park (2) Tad Sae Waterfall (1) Taipei (18) Taipei and Taiwan Travel Guide (6) Taipei Fine Arts Museum (1) Taipei Hsin-Beitou (1) Taipei Restaurant (1) Taipei Video (6) Taiwan (24) Taiwan Video (5) Tamsui (2) Tangalle (1) Tangelle (1) Temple (1) Temple Lunch (1) Tennoji (2) Thailand (1) Tissahane (1) Train (1) Travel (62) Travel Guide (1) Travelogues (7) tuk tuk (1) Turkey (11) Unawatuna (1) Unawatuna Beach (1) Urgut (1) Uzbekistan (8) Vang Vieng (4) Vang Vieng Eco Lodge (1) Victoria Park (1) Vientiane (3) Vientiane COPE (1) Wattay International Airport (1) Wedding (2) Weherahena Temple (1) Willesden Green (1) Worship Team (2) Xindian (1) Yala Nature Reserve (1) Yangmingshan (1) zip-line (2) 六福村 (2) 北京 (2) 北海公园 (1) 大安森林公園 (1) 建國花市 (1) 新店 (1) 石澳 (1) 石門水庫 (1) 碧潭 (1) 花東縱谷 (1) 衚衕 (1) 金山海灘 (1) 關渡自然公園 (1)

Popular Posts